Gingerbread houses are in everyone’s imagination when we think of Christmas, right? And it also brings to mind classic tales, like Hansel and Gretel. The truth is that making a gingerbread house is much easier than we can imagine, especially if you follow our advice… we also leave you the template to cut out the parts of the house!
The same gingerbread cookie recipes will help us make this gingerbread house delicious, aromatic, and perfect as a gift or edible centerpiece for Christmas dinner . It is a perfect recipe to make with children, who will have fun decorating the houses. We will use royal icing as a glue, which can also be used to decorate with a pastry bag; although it is much easier to decorate using sweets and sugar decorations, you will see.
With these amounts you will get two houses of approx. 15 x 15 cm, the size of our template. But you can also make them bigger or smaller, to your liking.
Europeans discovered ginger ‘s preserving effects when added to desserts and breads. It was a spice brought over during the Crusades, and then each European region developed its own gingerbread recipe . In some places the product was a soft, delicate cake, in others a flat, crisp biscuit, and in others it was dark squares of bread. Almost everywhere, this pastry was cut in the shape of a man, woman, star, or animal and decorated with colors or patterns and dusted with white sugar.
Germany has the oldest tradition of gingerbread flatbreads. The city of Nuremberg is considered the capital of gingerbread houses called ” lebkuchen haus “. However, the tradition of Christmas gingerbread houses has spread throughout the world.
- 500g of flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (you can buy) or ground nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 150g butter at room temperature
- 150g brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 160 g of honey or molasses
- 2 large egg whites
- 3 cups of icing sugar
- sugar decorations, smarties, sweets, etc.
We prepare the ginger dough
- In a bowl mix the dry ingredients.
- In another bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until creamy.
- Add the honey and egg, mix, and finally add the dry ingredients.
- Knead until you get a homogeneous dough, somewhat sticky.
- Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 2 hours.
We cut the pieces of gingerbread
- After two hours, remove the dough from the fridge. With the rolling pin, stretch the dough between two sheets of baking paper, until it is about 5 mm thick.
- We take the stretched dough, as it is, to the fridge for 30 minutes (or 10 minutes in the freezer).
- With the dough very hard, we can cut the pieces, using the templates that we have left you and a sharp knife. You can also create your own templates.
- Place the pieces on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and return to the fridge for 20 minutes. All these times of rest in the refrigerator serve so that the cookies do not deform in the oven, which would complicate the assembly of the house.
We bake gingerbread cookies
- Preheat the oven to 170-175°C.
- Bake the pieces for 15 minutes, or until the edges begin to look just golden.
- Remove from the oven, let cool for a minute on the tray and then completely on a wire rack.
We assemble the gingerbread house
- Once the cookies have cooled, we can decorate and assemble the houses.
- To glue the pieces we will use the dense royal icing, that is, with more sugar than normal, since it should not drip.
- We simply put icing on the parts of the house that touch, and first we assemble the walls, which are supported by themselves, and then we put the roof, which we will have to support for a few minutes with our hands until the icing dries a little.
For the decoration, it is convenient to wait until the house is well glued and the icing has dried. Otherwise, there is a risk of disarming. You can also decorate first, let dry and then assemble the house.
If you are good at using the pastry bag, you can decorate everything with the bag and royal icing, using food coloring (you can buy it) to color the icing if you want to color it.
If, on the other hand, you don’t want to get involved or you prefer a decoration that the little ones can also do, you can use the icing as a glue to stick sugar decorations, sweets and other sweets.
Step 1. We make the royal icing
- Prepare the base of the royal icing, using half of the ingredients, 1 egg white, and beat with an electric mixer until the whites are stiff.
- Continue beating while slowly adding 1.5 cups of icing sugar. The mixture should be strong and shiny.
- This frosting will be used for the construction of the houses, we keep the other half of the ingredients to decorate the exteriors.
Step 2. We build the base of the houses
- Build the base of the house by gluing the four sides of the wall. You can use a pastry bag if you want to paste the different pieces.
- Place on a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper to harden the glaze. When it’s hard you can put the roof on, using more royal icing to join the pieces together. Now you have the basic house ready to be decorated. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes.
Step 3. Gingerbread house decoration
- Now the fun part, the decoration. We made more royal icing with the leftover egg white and 1.5 cups of powdered sugar, which we used to build windows and doors on the walls of the house. You can use sprinkles to add color to the decoration, or use only the royal icing by inserting it into a piping bag with a fine nozzle to make it easier for us. If you prefer, you can buy a preparation to make royal icing easily .
- Finally you can decorate the rest of the Christmas landscape. You can make a dirt path by sprinkling cocoa powder and placing some chocolate bars on the path, bake some gingerbread fir trees as well, or sprinkle icing sugar on the tray to simulate snow between the houses… The rest is just matter of imagination!
- At first the dough will seem sticky, but don’t be tempted to add more flour. It needs several hours of rest in the fridge before it can be stretched.
- Although it may seem tedious, respecting the various steps in the fridge will greatly simplify the task when it comes to cutting the pieces, baking them without deforming them and then assembling.
- To stretch the dough evenly and then the pieces are baked evenly, you can use two 5 mm wide strips as a guide where to roll the roller.
- The pieces can be frozen before baking and kept for 3 months in the freezer. Then you bake them frozen, increasing the baking time a little.
- The gingerbread house keeps for many days in an airtight tin or recent.
You might be interested in the followings:-
- Linzer biscuits filled with jam – Recipes for Kids
- Fish Cake With mashed potatoes for kids at Pet Pooja.